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A Roman Bronze "Key" Ring, Roman Imperial Period, ca. 1st - 2nd Century AD

RJ1817

The most abundant of Roman security hardware seem to be keys and lock bolts. Keys were used mainly for doors, chests, boxes, caskets, cupboards and padlocks. Less often they were used for ceremonial or decorative purposes, such as matron keys, jewelry items and votive offerings.   It is alleged that some ring keys were worn by women as symbols of household authority, as "keeper of the keys".  This is probably correct, but such examples are difficult to identify as having served that purpose.  The example here would have served a rotary lock and although most ring keys were hung on thongs around the neck, suspended from a girdle or carried in a belt pouch, due to its form, this example could easily have been worn on a finger.

Dimensions: Length: 7/8 inch (2.2 cm), US ring size: 5

Condition: Intact and in good condition overall.

Provenance: Alex Malloy private collection, NJ, acquired in the 1980's.


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